Joe Coors is not a beer -- and not a good landlord, either, claims disgruntled tenant
Congressional candidate Joe Coors made headlines back in May, by claiming he is not a beer. But now, a disgruntled tenant who lives in a property the GOP candidate owns is hoping Coors gets attention for something else he says the congressional hopeful isn't: a good landlord.
The tenant claims Coors went back on his word and is essentially kicking his family out; his lease ends tomorrow. But a Coors spokeswoman has a very different take.
Jonathan Johnson, a 42-year-old resident of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, who at this writing is still living with his wife and two grandchildren in a property Coors owns, says that the candidate personally promised him and his family another year in the property and then changed his mind, giving him nowhere to go.
But the campaign team for Coors, who is hoping to unseat Representative Ed Perlmutter, says there's no controversy here, and this is a simple real estate transaction.
Courtesy of Jonathan Johnson Jonathan Johnson and his two grandchildren
Johnson reached out to Westword to try to bring attention to a situation that he says is very difficult for his family and reflects behavior that he does not think is fitting for someone who wants to represent voters as a member of Congress. He also provided a handful of e-mail correspondences to us to back up most of his claims.
According to Johnson, he and his family -- two grandsons, a seven-month-old and a four-year-old -- moved into the North Carolina property in September of last year, signing a one-year-lease contract with the option to buy. In June 2012, Johnson says his wife, Bianca, spoke with Joe Coors's wife, Gail and asked for a one-year renewal on the lease. He says Gail was disappointed that they were not going to buy the property but "also glad that we were still going to stay and take care of the property."
Gail told them that she would talk to Joe and prepare the lease for them, Johnson says. The next day, Joe called up Johnson and said he would get a renewal on the lease and he just needed a couple of weeks to prepare it.
Then in July, Joe and Gail Coors sent the couple an e-mail saying they were going to sell the house after all. The Johnsons could make an offer to buy, but either way, they would be terminating the lease, because they needed it vacant. Here's an excerpt of that e-mail to Bianca, signed by Joe and Gail:
After much thought, we have decided to sell our house on Fernando Street in Manteo. We haven't decided on an asking price yet.... I'm telling you this now because we won't be renewing the rental contract with you. We feel it's best if the property is vacant to accommodate showings during the period it is for sale. However, if you wish to present an offer to purchase the property, we will gladly consider all reasonable offers...
"I was flabbergasted. We had just put money into outdoor lighting, a new door, new landscaping," Johnson says. "It ticked me off. Why didn't he call me? He's hiding behind an e-mail."
Johnson and his wife hadn't intended on purchasing the property at that time, but since they wanted to stay and weren't sure they could find somewhere else in such a short time span, they looked into the possibility of a purchase.
Johnson says he then paid for an appraisal, which determined the property to be worth $420,000. However, Coors said he wanted $699,000 -- and for Johnson and his family, that was out of their price range. He says he couldn't find a bank that would even finance a purchase at that price, since Coors was asking for far more than the appraisal.
Courtesy of Jonathan Johnson Photo of Coors property, from the appraisal.
That meant that he had until September 15 -- tomorrow -- to find a new place. At that point, the date was only a month away.
"I pleaded with him," says Johnson, who does web installing. "He said, 'It's not my problem. Either you get it financed [or move out].'"
Johnson says he was particularly surprised with Coors changing his mind and then refusing to reach some kind of compromise, given that he is running for office. "He's trying to help make America a better place...but how can you help out the economy when you're not even doing your part?"
Continue reading for the official response from the Coors campaign as well as e-mail exchanges between the candidate and his tenants.